16 novels set in Westchester County
Westchester County has served as an inspiration for legendary authors such as Washington Irving, John Cheever and E.L. Doctorow, as well as present-day literary talents.
From wars (both real and imaginary) to suburban angst, the area's picturesque beauty and historic significance have led to a substantial number of novels being based here.
Here's a look at 16 works of fiction set in Westchester County, presented chronologically.
Compiled by Kirthana Ramisetti
The novel: “The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground” (1821)
The author: James Fenimore Cooper
The setting: Westchester County was the “neutral ground” of the book’s title, and many of the Revolutionary War battles recounted in the novel were set in the area.
The novel: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1917)
The author: Washington Irving
The setting: It was in the Dutch settlement Tarry town (now known as Tarrytown) that poor Ichabod Crane lost his head to the Headless Horseman.
The novel: “Fer-de-Lance” (1934)
The author: Max Stout
The setting: In the very first novel in the famous Nero Wolfe mystery series, the detective investigates a murder on a Westchester County golf course.
The novel: "The Brigadier and the Golf Widow" (1964)
The author: John Cheever
The setting: These short stories of loneliness and malaise are set in an upper-class suburbia reminiscent of Westchester County. This collection includes Cheever’s most famous short story, “The Swimmer.”
The novel: “Ragtime” (1975)
The author: E.L. Doctorow
The setting: The wealthy family at the novel’s center (known simply as Mother, Father, The Little Boy, etc.) live in New Rochelle; White Plains and Rye are referenced in the novel as well.
The novel: “World's End” (1987)
The author: T. Coraghessan Boyle
The setting: The novel follows three Hudson Valley-based families over the course of three centuries. Peekskill appears as ''Peterskill'' in the book.
The novel: “The Plagiarist” (1994)
The author: Ben Cheever
The setting:The protagonist works at the world headquarters of The American Reader in the fictional town of Paradise, a setting that closely parallels Reader's Digest, which is based in Pleasantville.
The novel: “Mona in the Promised Land” (1997)
The author: Gish Jen
The setting: The Chinese-American protagonist and her family adjust to living in affluent “Scarshill,” reflecting the author’s experience growing up in Scarsdale.
The novel: “How I Wonder What You Are” (2001)
The author: Louise Lynch
The setting: This children’s book is set in Chestnut Knoll, a fictionalized version of the author’s hometown of Larchmont.
The novel: “World War Z” (2006)
The author: Max Brooks
The setting: In this postapocalyptic horror novel, a climactic battle between U.S. armed forces and zombies takes place in Yonkers. (Spoiler alert: The zombies win.)
The novel: “How to Talk to a Widower” (2007)
The author: Jonathan Tropper
The setting: The titular widower lives in a fictional town called New Radford that is “100 percent New Rochelle,” according to the author.
The novel: “Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs” (2007)
The author: Paula Marantz Cohen
The setting: The title is pretty self-explanatory: Austen’s classic novel “Persuasion” is reimagined and set in modern-day Scarsdale.
The novel: “Home School” (2008)
The author: Charles Webb
The setting: In this sequel to “The Graduate,” Ben and Elaine have left California and Mrs. Robinson behind and settled down with their sons in Westchester County.
The novel: "Kill You Last" (2011)
The author: Todd Strasser
The setting: Teens are going missing from Soundview, a fictionalized version of the Larchmont area, in this final book from Strasser’s young adult "thrill-ology."
The novel: “The Clique” (14-book series, the final book came out in February 2012)
The author: Lisi Harrison
The setting: The bestselling young adult series about a clique called The Pretty Committee takes place at the fictional Octavian Country Day School, which is set in Westchester County.
The novel: “The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac” (2012)
The author: Kris D'Agostino
The setting: A grad school dropout moves back to Sleepy Hollow to live with his dysfunctional family.